HONOLULU – A man called for jury duty in Hawaii shouted "He is guilty! He is guilty!" outside a courtroom and ended up spending a night in jail, lawyers said.
The lawyer representing Jacob Maldonado said his client had a bad day when he made the outburst Tuesday.
"He was trying to get out of jury duty," attorney Jason Burks told the court. "Obviously, he took a very improper approach to it."
Maldonado had been called as a possible juror in a Honolulu misdemeanor assault trial. The court was about to begin jury selection when lawyers alerted Judge Edward Kubo that a potential juror was creating a disturbance outside.
Kubo declared a mistrial, finding the man's disturbance had affected the 44 other potential jurors, according to the judge's order.
The judge ordered Maldonado's arrest on a contempt charge and set a $10,000 cash bail. Maldonado spent the night in jail and appeared before Kubo on Wednesday morning.
"It was so uncalled for," Kubo said Wednesday. "The fairness of a trial is mandated and expected."
Burks told the judge that Maldonado's father was recently diagnosed with cancer and his wife was also dealing with medical issues.
Maldonado apologized to the judge, saying he wouldn't do it again.
Kubo explained the severity of the outburst, comparing efforts to taint a jury or disrupt the selection process as yelling "there's a bomb" on an airplane.
"We have to take it seriously," Kubo said.
Maldonado was released without being charged or fined.